New Vermont bills restrict pregnancy centers’ free speech and shield abortion businesses

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Vermont lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have introduced new bills that would protect and expand abortion even further in the already pro-abortion state.

S 37 in the Senate and H 89 in the House are both new bills that favor abortion. Both bills would “shield” abortion businesses and their workers from investigations and disciplinary actions related to abortions committed on out-of-state residents. The Senate bill would also outlaw insurance companies from raising rates on abortion businesses, and it would attempt to restrict the free speech of pregnancy resource centers (PRCs).

Lucy Leriche, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, praised the bills. “I think the idea is that, after the overturn of Roe (v. Wade) this summer, I think legislators just wanted to be really efficient in capturing all of the ways that they can think of to protect reproductive health care and to put them in one place so that it can be very clear to people,” she told VTDigger.

Leriche also was fully supportive of the bill that attempts to stifle the valuable services provided by PRCs.

“We call them fake clinics because that’s what they are, and they are halfway through their appointment before they go ‘oh, this isn’t what i thought at all,’” she said.

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Mary Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life, was quick to defend the work of PRCs. “These people are operating with the financial support of people who support what they’re doing. So why it’s any business of this Statehouse, I have no idea,” she said.

“They’re not deceiving women. They’re very clear. How do you trick a woman into carrying a baby to term? That’s what they say: ‘They’re tricking them into it.’ How is that? You’re just saying, ‘Let’s do an ultrasound.’”

“You would not believe how many stories I hear,” she added. “They see that ultrasound — they see that little heartbeat, and they go, ‘This is my baby and I’m keeping it.’”

Live Action News has published many stories which verify Beerworth’s claim that PRCs help women, like this mom who welcomed triplets, and this mom, who faced back-to-back unplanned pregnancies. Most often, women and families are extremely grateful for the support and assistance they receive from PRCs.

The new legislation is only the latest attempt by Vermont legislators to affirm the state’s support for abortion. In December, Governor Phil Scott signed a constitutional amendment enshrining abortion as a right, and in 2019, lawmakers passed a law guaranteeing abortion remains legal for all nine months of pregnancy.

Did you know that as little as $10 a month is enough to reach more than 3,000 moms and dads with the truth about abortion this year? Click here to start saving lives 365 days a year.

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